1935 Astor Pictures Corp. directed by Fred Newmeyer starring Lon Chaney Jr., Philip Ahn, Manuel Lopez and Sheila Terry. Chaney plays dual roles as detective Jack Wilson and low-life Butch Curtain. He's looking for infamous jewel thief Johnny Fly (Lopez).
May 2, 2011 Subject:
Typical Lon Chaney, Jr.
Lon Chaney, Jr. wasn't Laurence Olivier. His acting was always forced, never natural. In truth, his name was the only reason he ever got "star" billing. Having said that, I've always watched his movies because his character portrayals are benign, for lack of a better word - there's no need to get your thinking cap on to understand his characters. He's always simple and straight-forward.
His dual role here is a good example of his lack of natural acting ability. While he seems at ease in the detective role, he needs "crutches" to play the goon, and, even then, his acting is over the top.
The "plot," if there is any, is dirt simple and revolves around the objective of letting Chaney pay the dual role.
Our Japanese friend's acting ability is largely wasted in this film.
The wrestling contests at the end are a lame filler for the climax. Two stars are too much; maybe 1 and 1/2.
April 29, 2011 Subject:
I generally find Bill's reviews to be spot on. My only real disagreement in the case of this film is that I think Chaney did pretty well as the slimy guy. This is, after all, a cheapie and there wouldn't have been time for multiple takes.. The film-makers did a decent job on achieving atmosphere and, as Bill said, it's just over an hour long. Saturday Matinee stuff from the old days. I enjoy this little film.
April 27, 2011 Subject:
Chaney Jr. Vehicle
Set to appear in what may be Singapore, detectives are on the trail of notorious jewel thief and murderer Johnny Fly. Lon Chaney Jr. stars, playing dual roles as one of the detectives and as a Fly cohort and local bar owner. He does decently as the detective, but is unconvincing as the slimy criminal. The movie is predictable and plodding, but mercifully only a hour long. The outdoor sets looked good, and were the best part of the movie for me. Veteran character actor Philip Ahn has a small role as a detective who gets killed. His characters seemed to get murdered often, at least in the films I've seen.